Today, I welcome my good friend Kieran as the first guest blogger on Eternitainment! We’ve been friends a few years now and we often engage our minds in the fruitful discussion and appreciation of movies. If Kieran had his own blog I’d post the link here and direct you all there. Or maybe he’ll become a regular here? Eternitainment is delighted to host a post on one of the most famous movies of all time: Ben-Hur (1959).
A man steals millions of dollars from a drug deal gone bad and plays a deadly cat and mouse game with a serial killer the syndicate sends to get their money back, while aging sheriff Bell attempts to track them both down. Based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, No Country For Old Men takes on the problem of evil but does it offer any solutions?
Posted in film, movies, oscars, philosophy, reviews
Tagged cinematography, Coen brothers, cormac mccarthy, crime, death, editing, evil, meaning, the meaning of no country for old men, worldview
So the results are in: Argo has taken the award for Best Picture. I was not entirely surprised – there was heaps of buzz when it first came out, and it won in two major categories, being Adapted Screenplay and Editing. Personally, Argo was entertaining and maintained a good pace but I don’t know if will stay with me as long as Life of Pi.
What was surprising, perhaps ironic or prophetic, was the First Lady Michelle Obama announcing a film about the CIA rescuing US diplomats from an Iranian regime as the best picture of the year…from the White House. Perhaps the only thing more poetic would be the President announcing Zero Dark Thirty as the winner. “My fellow Americans. Earlier this evening, a movie…”
Anyway, I’m somewhat pleased with my few predictions:
Predicted: screenplay and a technical award
Actual: adapted screenplay and editing
Life of Pi
Predicted: sound, visual effects and possibly cinematography
Actual: visual effects, cinematography, musical score, director
Predicted: best supporting actress (Anne Hathaway)
Actual: best supporting actress, makeup and hairstyles, sound mixing
Being an entertainment blog I suppose I should mention something about the Oscars, which are on Monday morning Australian time. I only managed to see, embarrassingly, 3 of the contenders for best picture this year, being Les Miserables, Life of Pi (review soon), and Argo. After the Batman experience I was put off going to the cinema for awhile somehow. And while I had opportunity to watch Lincoln on my long haul flying recently, the purist in me said to wait until I could see it on the big screen.
Still, for what little my opinion is worth, I hereby predict an Oscar for Anne Hathaway who was simply wrenching in her performance, a couple of technical awards for Pi, perhaps for sound and visual effects – I think the use of HD cameras on the ship scenes was a little lacklustre to me, but it was a visual treat so hard to say on cinematography. For Argo, possibly a screenplay award and a technical award. That it doesn’t have a director nomination makes it harder to win for picture, and that it is up against Les Mis and Pi, which was dazzling, it will be tough, but by far the best of the films I watched on the long haul trip my wife and I did recently.
Having only seen a few of the contenders I will withhold judgement on the top prize. And on that, I’m not sure I’m a fan of the large number of best picture nominations. I suppose in some ways its an acknowledgment of all the fine work that’s been produced in the year, and may be just a way of generating interest for the TV audience too, if someone was more cynical than I. It does make the job of picking a winner slightly more difficult, but regardless of any of that the event is interesting if only for understanding the way in which we discuss, analyze and enjoy this art form.
Three things to like about The Descendants:
1. George Clooney – In contrast with many other roles which in which George embodies style, smooth-talking and has a bunch of cool friends, George admirably pulls off the ordinary and vulnerable father. Easily likeable and by no means a perfect character (none are), but for mine his best performance and well deserving of his Oscar nomination. The supporting cast was great too.
2. Thematically, there’s heaps going on here – family, identity, parenthood, heritage, suffering, death, marriage. Marriage and family are good things when they work well, but they are hard work, complicated by our imperfections and what life throws at us. The film is honest: life is tough and complex and frustrating, largely due to people, no matter where you live.
3. The writing – the Oscar-winning adapted screenplay is funny, tragic and poetic, and no doubt owes much to the source material. Here are a couple of my favourite quotes:
- My friends on the mainland think just because I live in Hawaii, I live in paradise, like a permanent vacation. We’re all just out here, sipping Mai Tais, shaking our hips, catching waves. Are they insane? Do they think we are immune to life? How can they possibly think our families are less screwed up, our cancers less fatal, our heartache less painful?
- A family feels exactly like an archipelago, separate but part of a whole, and always drifting slowly apart.